Sheep Hunters are Romantics, who love high places and solitude. To them the wild ram embodies the mystery and magic of the mountains, the rocky canyons, the snowy peaks, the fragrant alpine meadows, the gray slide rock, the icy dancing rills fed by snowbank and glacier, the sweet clean air of the high places, and the sense of being alone on the top of the world with the eagles, the marmots, and the wild sheep themselves.
The sheep hunter is willing to climb until his lungs are bursting, to walk until his legs are dead and weary, to grow hungry and thirsty for great rewards. There is no halfway.
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The North American Sheep Slam
The Grand Slam of North American Wild Sheep has been around since Grancel Fitz coined the phrase in 1949. Not quite a decade later, the Grand Slam Club was founded by Bob Housholder in 1956. While many may continue their pursuit of mountain game after completing their Grand Slam, for many this prestigious milestone represents a lifetime achievement and the pinnacle of their hunting careers.
Dall Sheep Hunting
Dall sheep are the least difficult and least expensive North American sheep to hunt, and usually the first ram hunters take when going for their Sheep Slam. Their population is steady and increasing and they are easy to glass. Dall sheep hunts are available in Alaska, the Yukon, British Columbia and the Northwest Territories.
Desert Bighorn Sheep Hunting
The desert bighorn sheep is usually the last ram of a“grand slam” to be taken, and is often never taken at all. The Desert bighorn can be tough to hunt, but the greatest obstacle is the difficulty of getting a permit… there aren’t many available. Limited permits are available through drawing in Arizona, Nevada, Utah and a few other states, but few permits are allotted to non-residents. The easiest place to hunt a desert bighorn ram is Mexico, where good hunts are operated by the government. Unfortunately though, these hunts are VERY expensive.
After their populations reached the brink of extinction, Desert bighorn sheep populations have since stabilized due to conservation efforts. Their decline was due to overhunting, habitat loss and disease passed on from domestic livestock. In the last five years Arizona is responsible for 29 of the top 100 sheep killed, Mexico has 17 entries and Nevada also has 29.
California bighorn sheep are a separate subspecies located in parts of British Columbia, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Utah. They are considerably smaller than the Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, their horns are shorter and less massive, and tend to have more flare.
*California bighorns count towards your Rocky Mountain bighorn for the Grand Slam.
Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep Hunting
The Rocky Mountain bighorn is the largest of the North American sheep. They are found in Alberta, British Columbia, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming and Nebraska. Most hunters play the waiting game for Rockies and hope to draw a tag and either go self-guided or hire an outfitter in the area they drew.
Stone Sheep Hunting
Stone sheep hunts are available in northern British Columbia, into the southern Yukon Territory.
A Fannin sheep is usually significantly lighter, but is technically still considered a Stone sheep. Their habitat is generally a little steeper and more rugged, but other than that, they are quite similar.
How to improve your odds:
- Put in for as many of the draws as you can afford and stay with it. If you are diligent you will pull a tag, on average it will take between 8-12 years to pull a tag depending on the state and the trophy quality.
- Play the raffles. In many states you actually have better odds of getting drawn in their raffle drawings than you do out of the normal draw pool, so set aside some money to put in for the different raffles as you never know when the hunting gods will smile on you. If you don’t draw, be happy knowing that you made a charitable donation to conservation.
- Set up a hunt savings program! I wish I would have done this back when I was young and single as I would have a pretty nice hunting budget these days. Look at setting up an investment account to build a long term hunting budget and make it a goal to put at least $100 a month into something like a mutual fund. For shorter term goals, you may want to just set up a savings account that is automatically transferring a certain amount each month until you reach your target amount.
- Book a hunt now for a couple of years down the road. Nothing like firm commitment to force you to save money.
- Sell old gear to jump start your investment program.
- Win the lottery… ok just kidding, but for a sheep hunter how nice would that be?
Feel free to contact us if you want help booking your dream hunt, or just need some help on developing a strategy to make your dream a reality.